Thread: 380sl questions
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Old 06-05-2001, 09:58 AM
Tim Robson
Posts: n/a
380 SL Questions

Hi Ed.

There's one other thing you might want to look into, if you haven't already, on your new '82 380 SL. The original timing chain on that model is a single row chain which is prone to stretching and catstrophic failure after a comparatively short period of time. When this happens, the valves will end up in a noisy death dance with the pistons. The only recommended solution by MB is to replace the single chain with a double row chain, which requires a conversion of the chain, sprockets, guides and the like with the double row version used on the '84 and later SLs. This is expensive (in the order of 25 - 30 hours labor, not to mention parts), but much less than the cost of repairing or overhauling the engine damage which will occur if the chain fails.

All that being said, your car may already have been converted - many have been over the years - so you may be just fine. Not all have, however; the whole issue was a bit of a mystery to me with my '81 until the chain started slapping on start up. If you don't know what type of chain you have, you can find out easily enough by removing the valve cover and taking a look.

Hopefully, this information will be old news to you. However, since it is a classic example of "pay me now...or pay me later", I thought I should bring it up.

Enjoy your new car.


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